Boyd Big Tree Preserve Conservation Area
The 1,025-acre Boyd Big Tree Preserve Conservation Area is one of the newest Pennsylvania state parks. The park straddles Blue Mountain and is the habitat of large trees of numerous species, which are homes for deep forests birds, especially warblers. In the summer and fall, the old field is filled with blooming wildflowers like butterfly weed. In late-July and early-August, the flowers attract field birds and many varieties of butterflies.
Hunting and Firearms: About 800 acres are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are black bear, deer, turkey, grouse, rabbit and squirrel.
Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day through March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply. Contact the park office for ADA accessible hunting information.
Use extreme caution with firearms at all times. Other visitors use the park during hunting seasons. Firearms and archery equipment used for hunting may be uncased and ready for use only in authorized hunting areas during hunting seasons. In areas not open to hunting or during non-hunting seasons, firearms and archery equipment shall be kept in the owner's car, trailer or leased campsite. The only exception is that law enforcement officers and individuals with a valid Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms may carry said firearm concealed on their person while they are within the park.
Complete information on hunting rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission Web site.
Hiking: 12 miles of trails
Pond Loop Trail: 1.2-mile , pink blazes, easy hiking
Lower Spring Trail: 1.1-mile, lavender blazes, easy hiking
East Loop Trail: 1.9-mile, lime green blazes, moderate hiking
Creek Trail: 0.9-mile, medium blue blazes, moderate hiking
Janie Trail: 2.8 miles, red blazes, difficult hiking
Coach Trail: 0.9- mile, yellow blazes, easy hiking
Upper Spring Trail: 2 miles, beige blazes, moderate hiking
Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths.
Cross-country Skiing: All hiking trails in the conservation area are open for cross-country skiing.
Environmental Education and Interpretation
The Boyd Big Tree Preserve Conservation Area offers a wide variety of environmental education and interpretive programs. Through hands-on activities, guided walks and evening programs, participants gain appreciation, understanding, and develop a sense of stewardship toward natural and cultural resources.
Curriculum-based environmental education programs are available to schools and youth groups. Group programs must be arranged in advance and may be scheduled by calling the Little Buffalo State Park Complex office.
Programs are offered from April through October. Many programs feature the abundant wildlife and forest management practices that can be seen in the conservation area. For more detailed information on programs contact the Little Buffalo State Park Complex office.
Explore the Calendar of Events for a listing of events from today forward.
Explore environmental education and interpretation for more information.
Access for People with Disabilities
If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.
There are many opportunities to see wildlife, but please observe from a safe distance and do not feed wildlife. The conservation area’s many trails offer good opportunities for seeing white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, squirrels, grouse, black bears and a variety of songbirds depending on the season. Eastern bluebird boxes are around the main parking lot. Please enjoy viewing the bluebirds but do not disturb the boxes.
The field and the ridge top of the conservation area can be great places to watch the annual hawk migration as these magnificent birds of prey ride the thermals along Blue Mountain. Their migration begins in mid-October and runs through early December with the peak in early November. American Chestnuts were planted in the field near the entrance as part of a program to create blight resistant trees.
Mr. Alexander Boyd donated the conservation area to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in September of 1999. Mr. Boyd is president of the Union Deposit Corporation. The stated purpose of this donation is to set aside the area for the perpetual management and protection of big trees. He received a Conservation Landowner of the Year award for 2001 from the Pennsylvania Wildlife Federation and Audubon Pennsylvania for his donation of the conservation area.
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Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation
Believing that each generation is responsible for leaving behind a better legacy of good conservation, the Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation (PPFF) was created in 1999 to give supporters and users of Pennsylvania's parks and forests a positive way to contribute to the conservation of our publicly-owned properties. The Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation welcomes the support of individuals and businesses who share a commitment to conserving, protecting, and enhancing the natural, scenic, and recreational areas of this commonwealth. www.paparksandforests.org
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We love when young people ask us how to get involved!
DiscoverE has programs for young people ages 4 to 17, provided by Pennsylvania State Park educators. By combining recreation and education, we hope to motivate children to learn more and return often, leading to a lifetime of outdoor enjoyment and conservation leadership.
In Watershed Education, teachers and students assess water quality of a local stream on a quarterly basis and develop strategies to solve local water quality problems.
ECO Camp - Exploring Careers Outdoors - is a week-long residential camp for a cross-section of high school youth from across Pennsylvania, sponsored by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Participate in action-packed, hands on activities and recreational adventures in Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests that expose youth to conservation, recreation and careers in natural resources. Learn how people make a living working in the outdoors.
Explore education for more information on these and other programs.
Explore the Calendar of Events to find a program near you.
Do you take conservation personally? iConservePA is a Web site managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources whose vision is to inspire citizens to value their natural resources, engage in conservation practices and experience the outdoors. Take conservation personally.
Come Work with Us
Pennsylvania State Parks and the Department of Conservation and Natrual Resources offer a wide range of civil service and non-civil service jobs, from foresters, to rangers, to engineers, to educators, to botanists and so much more. Learn what is currently available.
Tell us What You Think
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Boyd Big Tree Preserve Conservation Area
Information on nearby attractions is available from the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau. www.visithersheyharrisburg.org
Fort Hunter Mansion and Park: Along PA 443 north of Harrisburg, this 40-acre Dauphin County park was a settlement fort in the 1750s during the French and Indian War. The park has playgrounds, picnic areas and tours of the mansion. 717-599-5751
Joseph E. Ibberson Conservation Area: Straddling Peters Mountain, the 370-acre conservation area is dominated by large hardwood trees. This large block of nearly unbroken forest is a haven for wildlife like forest warblers and other deep-woods animals. A main attraction to the conservation area is the elaborate trail system. Contact the Little Buffalo State Park Complex office at 717-567-9255.
City of Harrisburg: The historic capital of Pennsylvania has many attractions, including: PA State Museum, State Capitol, Governor’s Mansion, Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, National Civil War Museum and much more.
Maps and Downloadables
Below are many of the maps and publications for this park. You can read them or download them and might need special software (all free) to view the publications.
You must have the free Adobe Reader to view the maps and brochures that are in pdf format (.pdf).
Alternate versions of the text of the brochures are in rich text and text formats. Click on the files to view them. To download (.rtf) files:
Interactive GIS Map
The Interactive GIS Map uses Geographic Information Systems to create a map that does not need to be downloaded and features driving directions, searchable park amenities and customizable maps. Please note that the background maps are maintained by a variety of public sources and driving directions usually go to the nearest large road.
From US 322 , take the Fishing Creek Exit. Turn east onto Fishing Creek Valley Road (SR 443). The conservation area is 2.6 miles on the right.
Driving Directions: The Interactive GIS Map has turn-by-turn driving directions to the park office from the Park Information Window. Please note that the background maps are maintained by a variety of public sources and driving directions usually go to the nearest large road.
Boyd Big Tree Preserve Conservation Area